Beautiful Callaway Day.

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My parents spent a long weekend at FDR State Park and so we were excited to spend the day with them there and visit Callaway Gardens with them on Saturday.

It was just the most perfect autumn day.

Postcard perfect.

Tom and Alice just adored every single thing.

They loved the cabin my parents were staying in.  They loved the lake.  The campfire.  The acorns. The sticks.

Jumping down the steps.

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See?

Every. Single. Thing.

We couldn’t get Tom away from the campfire.

Alice loved the cabin.  She wanted to eat all their snacks, I think. ;)

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We caught tiny frogs.  And collected huge acorns.

It was awesome.

After lunch, we headed to Callaway to the Butterfly Center.

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Tom ran through it so quickly, I couldn’t get a photo of him!  He was running and pointing at butterflies, and then he’d be off again.

Alice loved trying to spot them too, and would just follow them around.  So cute!

Then mom and I rode bikes with Alice to the Sibley Center, and the boys met us there.

Alice had been talking about bikes since she saw me pack her helmet.  She was thrilled!

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The Sibley Center — they couldn’t have loved it more.

Alice ran through every trail.

And Tom loved the children’s garden.  It has a little hideaway made of trees, and a little maze for them to race through.

Tom spent an hour in there.  No, he really did.  He just ran, and ran and chased and played.

He finally came out and chatted with me for a bit, collecting magnolia cones the entire time.

He wanted me to take a picture of his collection for you to see.

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We made a quick stop at the vegetable garden where Alice made sure PawPaw saw all the purple and blue flowers.  She would bend down and show him every one, and then ask if she could pick it.

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Tom saw the “beach” when we parked, and he asked about 1,327 times if we could go there.

BEACH! BEACH! BEACH!

That boy loves water!

Me when we got there: “Roll up your pants! Don’t get too wet!  I didn’t bring a change of clothes!”

Tom 2 minutes later: “I’m soaked!”

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He ran.  He splashed.  He built sand castles.

In November!

It was a chilly day, and he didn’t care at all.  He was so happy.

(He had to finish the day in pajama pants and 2T shirt I found hidden in the depths of the van.  He would tell you it was more than worth it!)

As we were leaving Callaway that day, we saw a bunch of people pulled over on the side of the road taking pictures of the lake.

It was beautiful!

The trees were just perfectly wonderful looking.

I made Kevin roll down the window and I snapped a quick pic – it was truly gorgeous.

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We had dinner with mom and dad back at their cabin, and then we headed home.

It was a perfectly perfect day.

The kids had the best time, and so did the parents and grandparents.

So happy we got to enjoy it together.

LOVE.

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Travel | 4 Comments

Happy Halloween?

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The Wednesday before Halloween, Alice started throwing up.

She was sick all day and night.

Kevin was out of town (of course!) and I did 1,023 loads of laundry in one day.

On Thursday, as I was trying to recover the house from that experience, I got a call that Tom had thrown up at school.

Knowing what was in store, I started to tear up a little in the car on the way to get him, so when I actually got him and he said, “Can I still go to the school party tomorrow?” And I had to tell him the hard truth, I really actually kind of cried a little.

Which should’ve been my first clue that hey, maybe I wasn’t too healthy either.

So approximately two hours after Tom started throwing up, I was right there with him.

And guess who was out of town…again?! (Of course!!)

Y’all.

I don’t even want to describe the horror that was Thursday to you.

So I will not.

But it was very, very bad.

So Friday morning, I emailed the two moms who had volunteered to help me with the class party and told them that Kevin would bring the supplies to them.  Then I packed up the party in a box and sent Kevin on his way.

Because Halloween preschool parties must go on!!

(It’s a lesser known saying, but I’m sure it’s true.)

So Friday.  It was Halloween.  And we here at our house didn’t care a bit.

We were weak. Puny. Totally drained and sad.  It’s quite pitiful, really.

But halfway through the day, I put on my cat ears and told them it was indeed Halloween, and although we couldn’t go to my sister’s like we planned, we could just go to a couple houses in our neighborhood.

They both were kind of like…

“Sure.”

Ha!

None of us were really eating anything at that point, but I asked them if they wanted to go trick-or-treating and they said yes.

Kevin wasn’t feeling well (but never got sick…I think probably hearing me describe it in detail made him feel sick for 36 hours.  Oops!) so I got the kids dressed in their costumes, asked them to pose for a couple pictures, and then pushed them through the neighborhood in the stroller to a couple houses.

(Our neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of kids, so most people don’t hand out candy.  It’s like hide and seek and trick or treat all in one!  Who’s doing candy? Ha!)

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If you don’t smile, Tom will force you.

So…it wasn’t the best Halloween, but I was happy they got to put on their costumes and trick-or-treat a little!

Speaking of costumes, aren’t they adorable?!

Tom is an Allosaurus.  (It’s like a T-rex, but Allosaurus is his favorite!)

He was very specific about what he wanted the costume to look like, and so we ordered this one for him.  It was too small, but he loved it and wouldn’t let me send it back for a bigger size, so we just went with it.  He loved it!

And my sweet Alice.  I made her a ghost tutu costume.  It was adorable.  She hated it.

So I took her to the store to see if she likes something better — and she did.

Spider-man!

They had a Spider-man girly costume, but she didn’t like that.

She wanted to be Spider-man!

And so she was.

She put on her mask before we knocked on any house, but took it off as soon as we got back to the stroller so she could “see her candy.”

Cutest Spider-man ever.

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After we got home from trick-or-treating, she immediately said she wanted “cat make-up” like Mommy – so we did that and she was a happy, happy girl the rest of the night!

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Tom hopped back into bed after we got home, but I did think that the trick-or-treating kind of cheered him up — so I was happy!

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I think we went to four houses, and then they both said they wanted to go home — so we did.

It wasn’t the Halloween we planned or hoped for, but it still made them happy, and for that I am thankful!

Here’s hoping next year is a little less…scary.

(And a little less filled with puke.) ;)

LOVE!

Posted in Baby Girl, Holidays, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom | 2 Comments

Meeting Hazel.

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Both kids have met baby Hazel.

And to have met her is to LOVE HER LIKE CRAZY!

These kids ask to see baby Hazel’s picture every day.

They just love babies!!  And a baby cousin of their very own is the best!!

Alice was able to meet Hazel after only a few days, but Tom had to wait a whole two weeks — but I let him skip school to do it.  He was thrilled.

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Tom immediately wanted to hold baby Hazel.

I think he wanted to pick her up.

He is just the sweetest when it comes to babies.  He talks to them, and tries to get them to smile.  He isn’t at all put off if they cry.  He loves them!

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I think Hazel totally knew the boy holding her loved her very much.

Alice also wants to hold the baby.

When we visited after a few days, Alice was able to hold her — and she was thrilled!

She held her very good, and tried to calm her down and snuggle her close.

Saying, “Shhh…baby!”

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After she held Hazel, and we gave her back to mommy, Alice said, “Hazel likes to cry a lot!”

Ha!

When Alice went back with me and Tom to visit — she had a bit of a cold, so we didn’t want her to hold Hazel that time.

Alice’s reaction?

“Awwww…man!”

So Rachel walked Hazel to Alice in the clubhouse so she could get a good look.

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And that was just as thrilling!

My kiddos have loved having a baby cousin!  They really are thrilled and they can’t wait to hold her again soon!

(Thanks for putting up with them, Hazel.  They’re never gonna leave you alone.  Ever!!)

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Motherhood, Tom | 2 Comments

Farm Weekend.

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Grandma feeding the ducks with the kids in the pond my great-grandparents built.

Two weekends ago — we went to my parent’s farm.

My parents now own the property that my great-grandparents once owned – and it’s just the most gorgeous place.

We headed down on Friday, went to the Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival on Saturday, visited with wonderful friends Saturday afternoon, and had a family dinner Sunday.

In short: it was THE BEST.

The kids had the time of their lives.  They loved everything.

They loved paddle boating, and riding the golf cart.

Tom loved shooting the BB gun with Daddy and my uncles.

Alice loved feeding the ducks.

All of us loved making s’mores.

(Of course!)

It was wonderfully beautiful weather, at an amazing place — and my parents were such wonderful hosts.  It was really, really great.

So great, in fact, that we cannot wait to go back.  CANNOT WAIT!

It’s pretty much all we talk about.

Here’s how it looked…

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The view of the house from the paddle boat.  The kids just loved dangling their feet off the side of the boat and splashing — it was definitely Alice’s favorite.

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Farm experience not complete without your pink sparkly princess shoes.

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Sweet babies.

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Saturday morning.

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Tom spent Saturday picking up chicks at the festival. ;)

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PawPaw and Alice.  She loves PawPaw.  LOVES.

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We ran into one of my high school friends at the festival, and that’s her cute son next to Alice!

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It’s been way too long since I’d seen my BFF from home!  Kate and Herely (and little Alice) FOREVER!  (No really, we’ve known each other since toddler days!  She’s the best for putting up with me that long!)

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Tom and Hillary’s son play like they see each other all the time!  So cute!  (That’s Tom smile…you like it?)

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Huck spent the weekend either barking at us in the paddle boat, barking at the drain in the lake, or both. He was in heaven.  Assuming doggie heaven includes lots of barking.

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Daddy helping Tom shoot cans with a BB gun.

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Muddy toes.  Both Tom and Alice pretty much wanted to walk in the mud constantly. It’s their favorite.

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Grandma and Alice fishing beneath the most gorgeous sky I’ve ever seen!

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And she caught one!!

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Sunday morning.

And then we went to my parents’ house and had a wonderful dinner with my uncle, who was visiting from Kentucky.

It was really great, and I was so happy we were able to spend such a gorgeous fall weekend with such wonderful people at an awesome place.

Can’t wait to do it again soon!

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Friends, Huck, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Travel | 6 Comments

Kevin’s Birthday.

Kevin’s birthday weekend was awesome.

(Says me.)

((I think he would say so, too.))

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We spent his actual birthday at home with pizza and brownies (birthday boy’s choice) and cupcakes (kids’ choice).

“He” opened his presents (the kids did) and then they went outside to play.

It was awesome and sweet and we loved it.

On Saturday we visited with Kevin’s family and it was wonderful.

The kids had a great time, the food was awesome, and the company was the best.

On Sunday, we went to an air show — since flying is a passion of Kevin’s.

It was my first time ever attending one – and it was great.

HOT, but great.

(Stop being hot, Georgia!)

We met up with one of Kevin’s friends there, and it was just the greatest day.

I’m so happy we were able to do it!

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Happy Birthday, my LOVE!!

Posted in Family, Friends, Kevin | 7 Comments

NOT Loving Preschool.

I need to tell you something:

Alice hates preschool.

I am shocked by this.  SHOCKED.

If you had asked me which of my kids would love preschool and which would hate it, I would tell you that Alice would love it, and Tom would hate it.

And you would think I don’t know my kids at all because the exact opposite is true.

Tom loves it.  LOVES.  Even though sometimes participating in the activities is hard for Tom to do (he thinks he has better ideas!) — he truly loves it.  He loves his teachers, friends and activities.  He’s just doing great.

Alice?  No.  Just no.

The first couple days were fine.

(She goes twice a week.)

But then they had this week-long fall break two weeks after school started, and it’s been downhill since then.

Her teachers are the same teachers Tom had for twos, so I know them pretty well.  And they know Alice pretty well because she has grown up in front of their eyes these past couple years.

Here’s the deal:  Alice loves the crafts and activities.  What she doesn’t like is downtime.  Or free play.  She doesn’t like that at all.

As soon as there is any type of break (like while the teachers set up for the next activity) she cries for me.

One day, her teacher made a deal with her — if she wouldn’t cry until lunch, she could get a sticker, and then she could cry.  Alice took that deal.  But didn’t cry at lunch because her teacher made that deal with her throughout the day and it worked!

So I felt like that was promising.

But it wasn’t, because after that day she was onto it and didn’t care about stickers or quietness so…boo.

Now she’s been steadily getting worse.

Thursday she cried so much and so long, they actually had to move her to the director’s office so she could color in there by herself (with the director, of course) because her crying for her mom makes the other kids cry for their moms.

Poor Alice!

When I ask her if she likes school, she says, “No.  I like Mommy.”

But if you ask her if she likes the crafts, her teachers, or her friends, she’ll say yes.

Now — Alice does not need to go to preschool this year.  She’s two.  It’s okay if she doesn’t go.   I don’t need her to go or anything, and I love having her home.  We only enrolled her because she’s been begging to go and we thought she would love it.

What I’m saying is — I don’t mind pulling her out.  Maybe she’s just not ready to be away from me, and that’s totally okay with me.

But the reason I haven’t pulled her out yet is because I was waiting to see if we consistently sent her (without a fall break, or a sickness kept her out one day) — if she would improve.

And I’m a little worried that if I pull her out this year, we’ll have to go through all of this again next year.

(Because I would really want her to go to threes.)

But I really don’t want her to hate preschool!  There’s nothing to hate!  It’s a fun, little school.  A short day.  With all the things she loves!

But if she doesn’t love it, I don’t want to send her.  So that’s where we are.

I’m pretty much ready to call it.  Kevin wants to give it another week, which I understand.

And even if we take Alice out, she’ll still be with me at every school event because I’m Tom’s room mom and the co-chair of the Parent Council (super room mom!) so…she’ll be there.  She just won’t be there.

We shall see.  Maybe this week will be different and she’ll be fine.

Or…maybe she’ll be a 2-year-old-preschool-dropout.

(Kidding!  She’ll just be homepreschooled.  That’s a thing, right?!)

Either way, I know for a fact, she’ll be awesome.

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Posted in Baby Girl, Motherhood | 7 Comments

Baby Hazel.

On Friday, October 3 — my newest niece, Hazel Rose, was born.

Rachel called me that morning to tell me that it would be Hazel’s BIRTH-day, so I asked Kevin if he could watch our kiddos while I went to hang with Rachel and my parents at the hospital.

I am so happy that I could be there.

It’s one of my most favorite things about being a sister.

My sister is a total rock star (duh) and she did amazing and Hazel Rose is just…perfect.

I’m so happy she’s here.

(Hey, Hazel!  I LOVE you!!)

Here’s how Hazel’s BIRTHday looked!

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My nephew and I got to pick up the big sister from school that day.  She was so surprised to see me there — and totally knew what it meant!  She talked to me the entire way to the hospital.  She was beyond excited!

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I took one last family of FOUR photo.

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Matilda wrote notes in the waiting room.  Including, “I think Hazel is coming today.”  She thought right.

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I walked the halls with Rachel for a little bit. And then I made Rachel pose for this picture when she was in between contractions, because that’s what mean older sisters are for.

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And then I waited in the hallway just outside her room. And I heard Hazel’s first cries.  And I cried.  And it was neat and amazing.

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And then I met Hazel.  She was about 20 minutes old and just awesome already.

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The next day I couldn’t wait to see a picture of the bigs meeting the littlest for the first time.  I’m in love with this!

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Six days later, I was back to hold Hazel, and this time I brought Alice.  Alice LOVES baby Hazel.  LOVES.

It’s been a great time.  I love baby Hazel.  And I love my sister and her wonderful family.

I’m so happy their family is complete and everyone is happy and healthy.

LOVE.

 

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Motherhood | 3 Comments